Walter Trout review….January 31, 2019…

WALTER TROUT

SURVIVOR BLUES

PROVOGUE  PRD 75752

ME, MY GUITAR, AND THE BLUES–BE CAREFUL HOW YOU VOTE–WOMAN DON’T LIE (FEAT. SUGARAY RAYFORD)–SADIE–PLEASE LOVE ME–NATURE’S DISAPPEARING–RED SUN–SOMETHING INSIDE OF ME–IT TAKES TIME–OUT OF BAD LUCK–GOIN’ DOWN TO THE RIVER (FEAT. BOBBY KRIEGER)–GOD’S WORD

Walter Trout is one of the most amazing guitarists, singers, and composers of my generation, and, if you consider his previous twenty-seven albums, that would put him in the “blues superstar” category.  But, Walter’s way more than just a bluesman.  If there ever was a “blues survivor,” it is Walter Trout.  He suffered liver failure and had a successful liver transplant in 2014, and continues to bring the best in blues to us fans.  His latest set, for Provogue, is a clever turn on that phrase, entitled “Survivor Blues,” marking a first for Walter.  This is the first time he has not included any original material on one of his albums.  This isn’t a “best of the blues,” tho, by any stretch of the imagination.  These twelve cuts are obscure blues covers, many that may be recognized only by the most serious fans (or Bloggers!).  He leaned more toward music that inspired him throughout his career, staying true to the spirit and fire of the originals.  Joining Walter are his band of stalwarts, all survivors of various health scares of their own, with Michael Leasure on drums, Skip Edwards on keys, and Johnny Griparic on bass.

This was a labor of love for Walter, and you can sense that loose, relaxed feel in the  grooves.  There are so many highlights, we’ll start at the beginning, with the leadoff slow jam of “Me, My Guitar, And The Blues,” originally done by Jimmy Dawkins.  Walter’s solos herein increase in intensity as the song progresses, leading to a brilliant climax.  He has a lot of fun on the Sunnyland Slim chestnut, turning “Be Careful How You Vote,” one of our favorites, into a real roadhouse rocker.  It also features Walter on harp as an added bonus!  He works the simplistic, rhythmic drone of Theodore Roosevelt “Hound Dog” Taylor’s “Sadie” to great effect, with Skip’s organ holding down the groove.  This song also served as the inspiration for the name of Nick and Kate Moss’ young daughter!  “Please Love Me,” from the catalog of B. B. King, swings with sheer joy and abandon, while Walter digs deep into his bluesman’s soul for a stirring take on Elmore James’ “Something Inside Of Me, it just won’t let me be!”  Robby Krieger adds slide guitar on Fred McDowell’s “Goin’ Down To The River,” while Mayall’s “Nature’s Disappearing” is a contemporary call to arms for those too blind or dumb to see that “we’re all guilty of this massive crime,” again with Walter on harp.

Our other favorite was a good-time read of Luther “Snake Boy” Johnson’s “Woman Don’t Lie,” with duet vocal from Sugaray Rayford.  On this one, our two legends go toe-to-toe and soul-to-soul on this hi-octane blues burner!

Walter Trout is a survivor, and he’s used the music on “Survivor Blues” as his own method of healing.  Fans, this one is a brilliant set from a contemporary master!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

 

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